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What is agtech?

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What is agtech? Agtech stands for “agricultural technology,” or technological advancements in the agricultural industry. Collectively, such improvements are often referred to as “precision agriculture” and are the backbone of modern agriculture and its innovations. It can involve agricultural robots, remote sensing, big data, agricultural automation, and many other technologies.

The traditional approach to farming involves making decisions related to crop yield, planting, cultivation, harvesting, watering, and applying inputs (fertilizers and pesticides, for example) based on historical data or regional conditions.

Modern technology in agriculture

Precision agriculture, in contrast, uses automation, robotics, sensors, GPS, the internet of things, mapping tools, and big data to optimize crop production while minimizing labor and other inputs. The goal is the optimization of food systems and the minimization of environmental impact and expense.

For example, sensors and drones can send images and data on individual plants or animals. Cameras and other types of sensors can relay information about a cow’s eating patterns, a plant’s stem size or leaf shape, or data about soil quality or moisture. Data-analysis software can crunch vast amounts of such info, looking for patterns.

Growers and producers can get real-time feedback and respond appropriately, delivering water, cultivation, pesticide or fertilizer in precise doses.

Challenges in agriculture

Agriculture technology typically addresses one of several common agricultural challenges, such as:

  • Scarcity or expense of agricultural labor
  • Water shortages
  • Soil degradation and soil erosion
  • Resource depletion
  • Crop yield
  • Resource optimization
  • Pest control
  • Supply chain issues
  • Capital markets and commodities pricing

Agricultural innovation

While there isn’t a smart agricultural technology invented that solves all of these key challenges, or even several at once, there are many separate innovations that are tackling various aspects of these challenges. Many trends in agricultural innovation show promise to deliver advanced technologies and strategies to growers and farmers around the world.

  • Automation
  • Remote sensing
  • Aquaponics
  • Genetic editing
  • IoT (Internet of Things)
  • Big data
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Robotics
  • Supply chain management technologies
  • Machine learning
  • Image recognition technologies
  • …and more




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